Studies show that 70% of consumers say they seek out product reviews before making a purchase. Customers are seeking input from others before buying, and ultimately this input can come from many different sources. So, what can you do to get in front of your audience and reassure them? One way to do this is through social proof.
Social proof is the positive influence created when you find out about something from other people, or see other people doing something. Think word of mouth marketing but ramped up and visible for all to see online.
You may make a claim about your product or service and it could be true, but until other people can verify your superior benefits, potential customers may not believe you. That’s where social proof steps in.
Social proof can take many forms: Expert, Celebrity, User, Crowds and Friends. The most commonly used in online marketing are User and Expert social proof as these are the easiest to obtain. Expert social proof is approval from a credible source or influencer, while user social proof is the endorsement from current users of a product or service.
By adding social proof you can help to positively influence visitors and help them complete the action you want on your site, whether this be signing up for a newsletter or an online purchase. Some companies that do this particularly well include Groupon and eBay as well as the accommodation website Booking.com.
Our favourite three examples of social proof include;
#1 Customer testimonials
Short quotes from happy customers will reassure potential customers before they commit to your product or service. Traditionally customer testimonials work well on a landing page or sitting on the side of a service page.
#2 Product Ratings and Reviews
Think about the last time you ate out. Did you google the restaurant first? Did you head to Trip Advisor to read the most recent reviews? Well we’ve got a secret for you – this thought process isn’t exclusive to the food industry. Customers want to be reassured when they make the choice to commit to you that they’re right in making this decision.
#3 Social sharing buttons
Social sharing buttons can provide evidence of exactly how share-worthy your content is. Turning on the counters in your social sharing buttons can be a daunting process sometimes. If you’re in single figures you might feel let down by a lack of progress but we’ve found even single digits can encourage sharing.
Social proof is essential for small business owners, as a selling tool, it’s massively influential. We’ve all succumbed to social proof in our lives whether following the crowd at school with a pair of Kickers (they were big in the 90’s honest) or buying a deal on Groupon because 1000’s of others have. Social proof really does work so give your website the best chance and add it to your site.
What are some ways you include social proof on your website? Does it work for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.